West Nile Virus Found in Hagerman, Health Officials Urge Caution
HAGERMAN, Idaho (KLIX) – West Nile Virus has been found in Gooding County, according to health officials.
South Central Public Health District and Twin Falls County Pest Abatement District have confirmed that a mosquito pool in the county has the virus. The mosquitoes were caught in district traps in the Hagerman area.
No human or animal cases have been reported, but officials are asking residents to be vigilant in their own neck of the woods. That means removing standing water from your property and, among others suggestions, dressing appropriately when outdoors.
“If you have any water standing long enough,” Kirk Tubbs, abatement district manager, told News Radio 1310, “mosquitoes will find it – a forgotten swimming pool, water left in a bucket or water trough.” In any of these, “hundreds of mosquito larvae could be found.”
Tubbs said not all types of mosquito are prone to carry the West Nile Virus, but those that do “really do thrive around people. … We’ve had such hot weather and just enough rain to create the habitat.”
West Nile, a potentially serious illness, is usually spread to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito.
“Most people infected with West Nile do not show symptoms,” SCPHD Nurse Manager Tanis Maxwell said in a prepared statement, but more susceptible individuals "may experience fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, eye pain and, sometimes, swollen lymph glands or a skin rash typically occurring two to 14 days” after being infected.
The health district offers this advice:
- DRAIN any standing water on your property that may produce mosquitoes.
- AVOID the outdoors at dawn and dusk.
- DRESS appropriately by wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
- DEFEND yourself by using a mosquito repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient, such as DEET (follow label directions).
- MAKE SURE door and window screens are in good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
WNV was found in Bannock, Canyon and Payette counties in June.
Tubbs said he's not surprised that the virus has been detected in the Magic Valley. With it already having been detected in other places in the state, he said "it was only a matter of time."